27 Interesting facts about Bora Bora

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  1. 1. The name of the island is not exactly Bora Bora, but Pora Pora since in Tahitian, the letter “B” doesn’t exist. The first European explorers to visit the island misheard the locals and the name Bora Bora has stuck ever since. The original name Pora Pora means “first born”.
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  3. 2. The first European who reached the island was a Dutch explorer, Jakob Roggeveen. He visited Bora Bora in 1722.
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  5. 3. Bora Bora belongs to the French Polynesia, which means that it is an overseas territory of France and French is the official language.
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  7. 4. The native language of Bora Bora is Tahitian, a language with only 16 letters and 1,000 words.

  1. 5. There is no public transport in Bora Bora, except for a bus which runs two-hour tours around the island and is known by locals as Le Truck. Visitors must either walk or rent a bike or a car.
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  3. 6. Bora Bora comprises only three villages: Anau, Faanui, and Vaitape, which is the largest.
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  5. 7. Unlike other tropical attractions, Bora Bora does not have dangerous insects or poisonous snakes that could ruin someone’s stay.
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  7. 8. The major danger in Bora Bora is falling coconuts. Considering the weight of the coconuts and the height of the palm trees, a coconut falls at incredible speed, hitting the ground with the equivalent force of a tone. When they are not a dangerous threat, coconuts make valuable ingredients in meals and drinks.
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  9. 9. Bora Bora played a significant role in World War II. It never became an actual scene of combat, but it served as a supply outpost for the United States’ South Pacific Fleet. The base was closed at the end of the war. Many Americans had a difficult time leaving the island that had become their home and some only returned to the U.S. after repeated complaints from their families. The defense fortifications are still in place in some areas.
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  11. 10. Bora Bora is one of the most secluded and exclusivist islands on the planet, considering that the whole of French Polynesia gets in a year a lower number of visitors than Hawaii gets in just ten days.

  1. 11. People in Bora Bora indicate their relationship status simply by placing a flower on one of their ears. A flower on the left ear means that they already have a special person in their lives, while on the other hand, a flower on the right ear means that they are single and open to flirtations. A flower waved behind the head means “follow me”.
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  3. 12. The Tiare flower, also known as Tahitian gardenia, is the national symbol of Tahiti and people of Bora Bora love to wear these flowers as a necklace or a crown.
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  5. 13. Only 19 km from Bora Bora, there is a coral reef formation called Motu Iti that has the shape of a heart. Together with the island’s beauty and isolation, this convinced native French Polynesians that Bora Bora is the Romantic Paradise. Unsurprisingly, Bora Bora is a top honeymoon destination.
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  7. 14. The population of Bora Bora is very young, with half of the people below 20.

  1. 15. In an article by CNN, Matira Beach of Bora Bora reached number eight on the list of the World’s 100 best beaches.
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  3. 16. In Bora Bora, tattoos have a sacred meaning and were considered for a long time a sign of both beauty and status. As indicators of one’s position in society, tattoos were applied in special ceremonies, always with great concern for their aesthetic value. The English word “tattoo” has its origin in the Tahitian word “tatau”.
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  5. 17. Bora Bora has no public cemeteries and people bury their loved ones in the backyard.
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  7. 18. The 2009 Hollywood romance “Couples Retreat” was shot in Bora Bora and increased the island’s popularity as a honeymoon or couples’ destination. The movie stars Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell.
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  9. 19. Black pearls are some of the most beautiful, expensive and rare souvenirs one can take from Bora Bora.
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  11. 20. Most resorts in Bora Bora are built on motus, which are sandy, coral islets that form a ring around the main island. The motus offer incredible views over the blue lagoon and the lush green slopes of the Mt. Otemanu.

  1. 21. In the crystal blue water that surrounds Bora Bora and its islets live black tip reef sharks. However, they are not aggressive. Further away from the lagoon you can spot humpback whales.
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  3. 22. Visitors of Bora Bora are usually greeted at the airport by a hotel representative who offers them a fragrant lei, which is a necklace of either frangipani or orchids. It is impolite to throw the lei in the trash. In Polynesian tradition, the flowers should be returned to the earth by simply cutting the string and letting the petals flutter away.
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  5. 23. Until 1888 when the French annexed the island, Bora Bora was an independent kingdom. Its last ruler was Queen Terrimaevarua III. The Queen never had children and her marriage ended in a divorce so she remained the head of the royal house of Bora Bora until her death.
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  7. 24. The philosophy of the native population of Bora Bora is often summed up as “aita pea pea”, which means “not to worry”.
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  9. 25. The typical tourist accommodation in Bora Bora is the over-the-water bungalows which are small houses built on stilts, ranging from basic to luxurious.
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  11. 26. The island of Bora Bora was formed over 4 million years ago by a volcanic eruption. The remnants of the extinct volcano are the two peaks at the center of the island.
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  13. 27. In 1770, famous British explorer Captain James Cook visited Bora Bora during his journeys of exploration in the Pacific.

 

 

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